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Why is DIY legal content marketing a dead end for lawyers?
Like every other business, small B2B law firms have finite resources. And, often, to reduce or eliminate marketing spend, attorneys attempt to execute content marketing campaigns themselves. But, this is a dead end for attorneys and here are five valid reasons why.
Most practicing attorneys are not content marketing experts.
You’re legal experts or should be. But, most law schools don’t train attorneys to be entrepreneurs, let alone in the critical subspecialty of marketing. Knowing how to conduct marketing efforts well is a skill in which entrepreneurs must excel or their campaigns fail. Simply put, most attorneys don’t have the skills to plan effectively and execute a content marketing strategy.
Most practicing B2B attorneys don’t have time to market.
You’re busily running your small law practice while trying to generate billable hours serving clients’ legal needs. You don’t have a chance to execute a content marketing plan consistently; that’s even if you have one. A robust plan is a formal strategy on paper that includes content calendars and the development of significant amounts of different types of outstanding content to succeed.
If you’re running a solo or small practice or are growing a practice with other attorneys, that is—and should be—your primary focus. You likely don’t have time to write and post several blog articles a week, update your website regularly, produce and ebook or white paper twice per quarter and distribute the content across multiple social platforms every day, right?
Most small law firm attorneys don’t have time to monitor digital platforms.
You may be able to produce content and post it post to social media platforms. But, you probably can’t respond to inquiries on them and analyze data from your efforts (if you even have analytics platforms in place and correctly setup). You’re unlikely to have time to modify your content marketing strategy to reflect what those data show.
That’s why content marketing should be left to dedicated professionals who are legal content marketing experts within or outside your firm. Hiring such expertise, whether as employees or contractors, will free up precious time to service your clients’ legal contracts.
Most lawyers write like—lawyers.
Unless you’re a storyteller who can write relatable content that draws in your audience and shows them that you have particular legal superpowers and write that content in easily understandable language, you need expert help. You also need to know where to distribute the content after you write it, and that requires a granular understanding of social media and other digital distribution platforms, like marketing automation.
Most lawyers can’t generate strong leads marketing their own.
You probably will fail to achieve the lead generating results you want—that is, converting visitors to your digital platforms to fee-paying clients or referring attorneys. That’s because all your content needs to be cohesive and consistent in quality just like your legal services.
If you don’t conduct content marketing efforts as excellently as you provide legal strategy, your audience may view your efforts as sloppy and unprofessional. That will place your law firm in the same light, and you could lose credibility, trust, and opportunities to generate more billable legal time.
These are the five primary reasons that it’s not usually a good idea for small law firms and their attorneys to conduct marketing strategy on their own, especially their content writing. But, even if you are considering launching your marketing campaign on your own, here’s something else you’ll have to have the expertise to incorporate.
Knowing When to Expand Your Content Marketing Strategy
Your audiences have different needs at different times in their legal services buying journey for identifying the right smaller B2B law firm to hire. And, you’ll have to know when it’s time to expand your content marketing strategy to meet those changing needs. Most business owners, including lawyers, underestimate how critical this is.
To meet prospective clients’ content needs, you’ll have to know what kind of content to create for specific stages of this buying process. But, if your small law firm is like most, you only produce one or two types of content for your law practice, a website, and blog.
That is what most small law firms have time to create. But, that means you’ll lose valuable opportunities to reach those prospective clients who have moved to a different stage in their buying process and need additional content types to come to a buying decision.
Not only do you need to know where your legal audience is in their decision-making process, but you must also know where you are in the content marketing spectrum to know when to expand your content marketing strategy. There are different levels of content marketing strategy in which you engage depending on the value of your legal services. Higher value services require a different kind of content than lower-value services.
For example, at the lower end of the spectrum, you’ll likely focus on basic blog articles or email newsletter that help entry-level clients gain a rudimentary understanding of a legal issue.
Based on only that content, they may see yours as a law firm to contact when they can afford legal fees. Those kinds of blog articles would help someone who wants to launch a small business or determine if they need to get a patent for their new app.
But, if you want prospective clients actually to call you to discuss your B2B legal services, you’ll need to up your content marketing game to include more robust content. That could include thought-leadership articles on legal publishing platforms or business publications that provide deeper insight into your firm’s legal expertise.
It also means case studies that show how you’ve solved a business legal problem or slide decks that walk clients through a particular legal process. Those are not usually “done in a minute” strategies.
And, at the highest levels–those in which you want long term retainer clients or bigger fees through project-based or alternative fee arrangements, you’ll have to provide rich content that proves your smaller legal practice worthy of such investment.
That’s where white papers, custom subscription newsletters or other custom content that provides insights into high-level legal strategies your firm executes may be necessary. Few attorneys can create these types of content on their own nor do they have the time.
Leave Legal Content Marketing to the Experts
Growth in your law firm’s bottom line is tied to the effectiveness of your legal content marketing strategy. And, in today’s competitive legal business environment, you can’t afford to invest your precious professional time in activities that would have little return on investment for your legal practice.
Consider “do-it-yourself content marketing one of those activities. Instead, leave it to legal marketing experts while you show your clients your legal expertise.
(c) 2016-2017. Dahna M. Chandler for Get Money Moxie, Inc. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced in whole or in part without express written permission of the author.
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